O’Farrell says marriage equality best sought in Federal law
After expressing support for same-sex marriage and marriage equality, Premier Barry O’Farrell has released a statement saying he believes marriage equality is best sought in Federal law.
O’Farrell commented that as debate around marriage equality has progressed, some have chosen to ignore his earlier statement in April which said “marriage equality should be pursued through the Federal Parliament, which administers the Marriage Act 1961, and that given the range of views across the community on the issue Federal MPs should be allowed a conscience vote.”
While O’Farrell did commission a report to see if the states could legislate on marriage equality, he still believes only “the Federal Parliament can deliver true equality in our marriage laws”.
O’Farrell says he does not want to return to the patchwork quilt of marriage laws that existed in the 1950s.
“I want a law that applies equally regardless of sexual orientation. To be truly equal, same sex marriages should enjoy the same legal status and recognition as other marriages; only a change to the Federal Marriage Act will deliver that equality. “
Marriage Equality advocates responded to O’Farrell’s statement saying states have a moral responsibility to act on same-sex marriage.
"In the absence of federal action on marriage equality, the states have a moral responsibility to ensure all loving committed same-sex couples are treated equally. This includes Mr O'Farrell and other NSW state MPs,” said AME national director Rodney Croome. "The whole point of our federal structure is that when reform is blocked at one level it can progress at another.
"The recognition of all personal relationships has occurred first at a state level, from heterosexual marriages through de facto relationships to civil partnership, and I don't see why same-sex marriages should be any different.”
Croome says the AME will write to Mr O'Farrell to seek a meeting to discuss same sex marriage.
The Same Sex Marriage Bill is introduced to NSW Upper House today.